- A coalition of INEC accredited domestic observers for Edo state governorship election say they are satisfied with the exercise
- The groups stated that the election was free, credible, transparent and met international standards
- Stakeholders in the state were urged to accept the result as a true reflection of the will of the people of the state
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A coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited domestic observers for Edo state governorship election have expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, noting that the election was free, credible, transparent and met international standards.
The domestic observer groups at a press conference in Benin city on Monday, September 21 noted that:
“INEC was resolute, prepared and committed to conducting a credible, free and fair governorship election in Edo state by providing a level playing ground for all the political parties and ensuring timely and even distribution of election materials across the entire polling units as well as timely commencement of the election.”
A spokesperson for the coalition, Mr Victor Kalu, said the law enforcement agents were duty conscious and performed their jobs dispassionately, adding:
“The law enforcement agents and other designated government officials to the election abided by the terms of reference and status of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, before, during and after the election.”
The coalition declared that the exercise met the international standard for credible democratic elections and urged that the results should be accepted by all as a true reflection of the will of the people of the state.
“We are happy to observe that much of the perceived tension and fear of Edo State to be submerged with electoral violence and other security breaches during the election, stemmed from the information which unscrupulous elements and people outside the state were peddling because Edo state is perceived to be prone to electoral violence.
“We observed with satisfaction that INEC’s uncompromising position on the strict compliance to the use of smart card readers which was very effective during the election and cancellation of results where applicable, due to violence and other violations, to a very large extent, defined the entire exercise and positioned INEC as truly committed to getting it right in our electoral process as a democratic nation.”
The group of election observers recommended that “INEC, political parties and stakeholders especially the civil society group should engage more on voter education and mobilisation before every election to improve and encourage improved voter participation during elections.”
They applauded all security agencies for their impressive professional conduct during the election, adding “there was no record of intimidation and harassment due to their overzealous interference.”
The observers also commended INEC for “remaining resolute and committed to giving Edo and indeed Nigerians such a wonderful and acceptable election.”
Similarly, a foremost pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has rated the conduct and outcome of the September 19 governorship election in Edo state as relatively credible, despite the challenges and infractions, which dogged the process.
CDD which deployed 250 stationary and roving observers to keep a close eye on key processes in the election, handed down its verdict in a final observation briefing held on Monday, September 21.
The Centre noted that the election was relatively peaceful when compared to other polls recently conducted by INEC.